About us

Whaiao Education for Sustainability Otago is a UN recognised Regional Centre of Expertise.

A Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) is a network of people and organisations that facilitate learning towards sustainable development in their local communities. ​RCEs are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

We are a network of indigenous people, educators, students, researchers, non-profits, government leaders, businesses and community members collaborating to promote sustainability education, training, and public awareness.

Our name, Whaiao – the world of light – came from Kāi Tahu – the Māori people who hold rangatiratanga (tribal authority) in the RCE-Otago region.

Located near the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island, Otago’s varied landscaped includes rugged coastlines, spectacular mountains, alpine lakes and national parks. The area is known for farming, forestry, horticulture, education and tourism. Otago has many unique natural features, including the only mainland colony of albatross in the world.

Whaiao will uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi through our bicultural governance model, enabled by memorandums of understanding between Otago Polytechnic, the University of Otago, Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and Kāi Tahu.